South Carolina: Cain 33%, Romney 23%, Gingrich 15%

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herman-cain-picturesBusinessman Herman Cain leads the GOP field in South Carolina with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 10 points behind. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the only other candidate with double-digit support. The survey was conducted on Tuesday night following two days of media coverage concerning allegations of harassment against Cain.

In polling conducted before the latest allegations, Cain led in Iowa with Romney second, while Romney led in New Hampshire with Cain in second place.

The first Rasmussen Reports poll of South Carolina’s Likely Republican Primary Voters shows Cain with 33% support, Romney at 23% and Gingrich at 15%. Texas Governor Rick Perry earns nine percent (9%) of the likely primary vote, Texas Congressman Ron Paul five percent (5%) and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann two percent (2%). Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman each pick up one percent (1%), as does “some other candidate.” Ten percent (10%) remain undecided.

Of those who are currently certain of their vote, Cain leads Romney by 12.

It’s important to note, however, that just 28% of South Carolina’s Likely Primary Voters are firmly committed to their current candidate. That leaves 72% who could still change their mind or have no preference at this time. South Carolina’s primary will be held 10 days after the New Hampshire Primary, and the results from both Iowa and New Hampshire could alter the course of the campaign before South Carolina votes. On Fox News, Scott Rasmussen discussed the importance of finishing second in New Hampshire with Megyn Kelly.

This South Carolina survey of 770 Likely Republican Primary Voters was conducted on November 1, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

If it was just a two-man race in South Carolina, Cain leads Romney 50% to 37%, and he leads Perry 56% to 27%. Romney leads Perry 49% to 30% in that two-way matchup.

Forty-four percent (44%) believe Romney is most likely to win the Republican presidential nomination. Twenty-five percent (25%) expect to see Cain as the nominee, while 10% think Perry will come back to win the race.

Among these South Carolina voters, 75% were able to correctly identify Cain as the candidate who was accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s. Only nine percent (9%) mistakenly thought it was some other candidate, while 16% are not sure.

Just nine percent (9%) think it’s Very Likely that the charges against Cain are serious and true. Another 19% think it’s Somewhat Likely. Fifty-eight percent (58%) consider it unlikely, but that includes only 19% who say that it is Not at All Likely. This suggests that Republican voters are generally willing to give the candidate the benefit of the doubt while recognizing that more information might change their perception.

Fifty-one percent (51%) believe it’s at least somewhat likely that the allegations were leaked by one of the other Republican campaigns. Among those who support Cain, that figure rises to 61%.

Turnout is always a key factor in primary campaigns. Among those absolutely certain to show up and vote, 35% prefer Cain, 21% Romney and 17% Gingrich.

Eighty-two percent (82%) say they will support the Republican candidate in the general election even if their favorite candidate doesn’t win. If Romney is the nominee, 13% would be Very Likely to consider voting for a third party candidate. Another 17% would be Somewhat Likely to do so.

Among those who are Very Conservative, Cain attracts 40% of the vote with Newt Gingrich a distant second at 22%. Among those who are Somewhat Conservative, it’s Cain at 31% and Romney at 27%. As for those who are moderate or liberal, Romney holds a four-point advantage over Cain.

In 2008, during the final week leading up to the South Carolina primary, voters for less successful candidates peeled away from their first choice to vote for one of the two frontrunners. In that race, it was the eventual nominee John McCain and the second place finisher Mike Huckabee.

{Rasmussen Reports/Matzav.com Newscenter}

9 COMMENTS

  1. #1, Cain as Fed chairman would be a disaster. As he himself said, he doesn’t have the same type of Wall St.-type business experience that Romney does. He’s a businessman, certainly not a top economist. He also doesn’t have the emotional detachment necessary to be Fed chairman.
    Romney for Pres. Giuliani for VP. Huntsman for State. Bloomberg for Treasury. Lieberman for Homeland Security. Gingrich for OMB. Petraeus for Defense.
    Cain for pizza delivery boy.

  2. 2. Comment from TorahYidKS
    Time
    November 3, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    #1, Cain as Fed chairman would be a disaster. As he himself said, he doesn’t have the same type of Wall St.-type business experience that Romney does. He’s a businessman, certainly not a top economist. He also doesn’t have the emotional detachment necessary to be Fed chairman.
    Romney for Pres. Giuliani for VP. Huntsman for State. Bloomberg for Treasury. Lieberman for Homeland Security. Gingrich for OMB. Petraeus for Defense.
    Cain for pizza delivery boy.

    Nah.

    My choices are:

    Rick Santorum* for President
    Eric Cantor for Vice President
    Newt Gingrich or John Bolton for Secretary of State
    Ron Paul for Secretary of the Treasury
    Allen West for Secretary of Defense
    Rick Perry for Secretary of Agriculture**
    Herman Cain or Mitt Romney for Secretary of Commerce
    Tim Pawlenty for Secretary of Labor
    Bill Frist for Secretary of Health and Human Services
    Jeb Bush for Secretary of Education**
    John McCain for Secretary of Veterans Affairs
    Joe Lieberman for Secretary of Homeland Security

    *As you most obviously realized I’m not the real Rick Santorum.
    **I agree with trimming the Departments of Agriculture and Education, of course.

  3. I’m really not sure what you specifically like about Santorum compared to the other candidates.

    Eric Cantor is considered too polarizing a figure to be a good choice for VP. He would help swing more Jewish votes away from Obama, perhaps resulting in a GOP win in Florida, but overall, a poor choice. A real social conservative like Santorum would need a moderate VP to assure a win in ’12.

    Ron Paul for Treasury? That bumbling, isolationist, libertarian idiot? What does he really know about economics? All I ever hear from him is the same pat answer: “Government is too big and that’s the cause of all our problems. Limit government and all our problems will be fixed.” How sophisticated.

    I’m not sure that Allen West is quite ready for SecDef. A little more experience and political correctness will go a long way.

    Why in the world would Rick Perry give up his job as Governor of Texas to become Secretary of Agriculture?

  4. 5. Comment from TorahYidKS
    Time
    November 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I’m really not sure what you specifically like about Santorum compared to the other candidates.

    Eric Cantor is considered too polarizing a figure to be a good choice for VP. He would help swing more Jewish votes away from Obama, perhaps resulting in a GOP win in Florida, but overall, a poor choice. A real social conservative like Santorum would need a moderate VP to assure a win in ‘12.

    Ron Paul for Treasury? That bumbling, isolationist, libertarian idiot? What does he really know about economics? All I ever hear from him is the same pat answer: “Government is too big and that’s the cause of all our problems. Limit government and all our problems will be fixed.” How sophisticated.

    I’m not sure that Allen West is quite ready for SecDef. A little more experience and political correctness will go a long way.

    Why in the world would Rick Perry give up his job as Governor of Texas to become Secretary of Agriculture?

    Yeah, I don’t think Paul would be that good, to be honest. Maybe Romney?

    What do I like about Santorum?

    1. He’s extremely social conservative.
    2. He’s a hawk.
    3. He’s served in national government (unlike the three frontrunners).
    4. I’m disabled (ooh, did I reveal too much?).
    5. I’ve met him.

    As for Cantor, I don’t believe in “ticket-balancing”. Besides, Cantor would capture Virginia, a 13-vote swing state.

    Do you think Fortuño would be a better choice?

    And political correctness? Sonny, political correctness will be the death of us. I don’t like Petraeus much, he seems too much in the mold of Sec’y Gates.

  5. Is Santorum more of a hawk than, say, Gingrich? Do you really think that senators make better presidents than governors? Gubernatorial experience is a lot more similar to being president than senatorial experience is. Why is Santorum better for the disabled? Why will the fact that you’ve met Santorum make him a better president?
    I don’t love the idea of ticket balancing as an ideal, but I’m a practical guy. A VP candidate has to be totally capable of being a good VP, but at the same time must help (or at least not hurt) the chances in the general election.

  6. Santorum isn’t more of a hawk than Gingrich no. Gingrich is my 2nd choice. But Gingrich has his “history”. As for disabilities, I don’t say he’ll be better, just that he understands it, what with his daughter. As for gubernatorial experience, we are facing crises on a national level, and therefore we need someone with national experience. Perry’s “look what I did in Texas”, for example, is not something applicable to the US of A.

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